September 06, 2008

Surprisingly NOT about politics: Reviewing the Samsung Instinct by Sprint

So it's been a week now, and I haven't yet posted about my new baby.

I'm quite a fan. I must say it is a severe departure from my previous, traditional flip cell phone. There was definitely a learning curve, and I still have scrolling issues, but overall I've learned to use the phone and I love it.

Among the things that took some getting used to was the "click and drag" feature, which is essentially how you receive and end calls. You essentially drag a large button across the screen to a destination which leads to action, rather than tapping. That was a paradigm shift for me.

And there are a few features I miss, such as having a separate ringtone for private or blocked id calls. I also am sad that there's no Google Talk support, although you CAN access Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, and AIM via the web.

I also miss the universal power plug that my old phones had. We had quite a supply of chargers using that interface, but alas, we had to ditch them for new chargers. Ugh. Oh well.

Among the pluses are a large, bright screen which so far is easy to use to select buttons, weblinks, etc., even without using the included stylus. Which reminds me. There was a shitload of swag in the box. Aside from the phone and documentation, there was a pair of headphones that could also be used as a hands-free headset, TWO batteries, a battery charging adapter for the extra battery, the charging cord, a USB cord to attach to a computer, a CD of phone related software, a leather case,a stylus, and a micro SD card with adapter.

The sound is also pretty good. The little stereo speaker can put out a ton of sound. Also, it's really easy to make and upload your own ringtones from your mp3 collection using any of a number of websites. My personal fave of these is, which allows you to upload the .mp3 of your choice, edit it to the piece you want for your ringer, and then converts it to the correct file type for your phone and carrier (use M4A for Instinct) with pretty good sound fidelity. For someone who sweated through converting mp3s to to WAV, editing the sound settings, and then converting to qcp and finding an uploader previously, this is SOOOOOOO easy and the ringers come out quite well. I use Audacity (YAY! FREEWARE!) to edit mp3s down to size before uploading them, and then just select all of the uploaded file to be converted.

Dr. Horrible ringtones? You bet.

Speaking of sound, both the regular ear speaker and the speakerphone are clear. I sound good to people who I talk to, and I can hear them clearly. This is also true when using my bluetooth, something that people I know have complained about with regard to the iPhone.

The web is also quite speedy. It hangs noticeably on graphics-heavy pages, and there are several anecdotal stories on the net of pages that REFUSE to load, but I haven't had any of those issues. My biggest net pet peeve is that doesn't seem to want to connect when I want to update my email, but it will receive new messages and vibrate at the MOST inconvenient moment. At least it doesn't ring for new messages while in sleep mode. It does, however, ring for calls in sleep mode.

I know Sprint is trying desperately to develop apps for the Instinct, but so far the pickings are slim. And in some cases, EXPENSIVE. I look forward to the Holidays, when I expect there will be a big push towards getting apps out for all the people who will be getting these new toys for Christmas.

Battery life is better than I expected. I usually charge my phone during one or both halves of my daily commute, and I haven't had any power problems, even with heavy web/text use. I was expecting something more like the iPhone, where keeping a spare battery would be a good idea, but so far so good. If you lay off the web, the battery life seems comparable to a more traditional cell phone.

This is my 6th mobile phone (I got my first celly in 1996), and the 4th Samsung handset in a row. Say what you will about technology companies, but Samsung phones have always been good to me, and I'm hopeful this will live up to the hype.

Posted by caltechgirl at September 6, 2008 11:53 AM | TrackBack

very cool! very geeky! Perfect!

Posted by: vw bug at September 6, 2008 03:34 PM

I ended up going with the Blackberry Curve because I had heard that the Instinct didn't sync with Outlook. Since that's my calendar and I really need it that was a big sticking point for me.

Oh yeah, the iPhone... no battery changes!!! You can only charge it - just like on the ipods! I still find that astounding. I wouldn't buy one ever because it seems the only thing going for it is the pretty screen... since my eyes aren't that great anyway - it would be lost on me. *grin*

Glad the Instinct is turning out to be such a good phone for you. Hope it stays that way!

Posted by: Teresa at September 9, 2008 05:11 PM